Review Article| Volume 92, P163-169, March 2019

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Exercise in the management of obesity

  • Author Footnotes
    1 These authors have contributed equally to this work.
    Anatoli Petridou
    1 These authors have contributed equally to this work.
    Laboratory of Evaluation of Human Biological Performance, School of Physical Education and Sport Science at Thessaloniki, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
    Search for articles by this author
  • Author Footnotes
    1 These authors have contributed equally to this work.
    Aikaterina Siopi
    1 These authors have contributed equally to this work.
    Laboratory of Evaluation of Human Biological Performance, School of Physical Education and Sport Science at Thessaloniki, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
    Search for articles by this author
  • Vassilis Mougios
    Corresponding author at: TEFAA, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece.
    Laboratory of Evaluation of Human Biological Performance, School of Physical Education and Sport Science at Thessaloniki, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
    Search for articles by this author
  • Author Footnotes
    1 These authors have contributed equally to this work.
Published:October 29, 2018DOI:


      • Regular exercise should be an integral part of every weight management program.
      • Endurance, resistance, and high-intensity interval exercises are effective options.
      • Regular exercise contributes to weight maintenance after weight loss.
      • Exercise can improve the health consequences of obesity, even without weight loss.


      Obesity is a multifactorial disease with increasing incidence and burden on societies worldwide. Obesity can be managed through everyday behavioral changes involving energy intake and energy expenditure. Concerning the latter, there is strong evidence that regular exercise contributes to body weight and fat loss, maintenance of body weight and fat reduction, and metabolic fitness in obesity. Appropriate exercise programs should ideally combine large negative energy balance, long-term adherence, and beneficial effects on health and well-being. Endurance training appears to be the most effective in this respect, although resistance training and high-intensity interval training play distinct roles in the effectiveness of exercise interventions. With weight regain being so common, weight loss maintenance is probably the greatest challenge in the successful treatment of obesity. There is an established association between higher levels of physical activity and greater weight loss maintenance, based on the abundance of evidence from prospective observational studies and retrospective analyses. However, proving a causative relationship between exercise and weight loss maintenance is difficult at present. Exercise has the potential to alleviate the health consequences of obesity, even in the absence of weight loss. All in all, exercise constitutes an indispensable, yet often underestimated, tool in the management of obesity.


      ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine), CRF (cardiorespiratory fitness), CVD (cardiovascular disease), ΗΙΙΤ (high-intensity interval training), MET (metabolic equivalent of task), MICT (moderate-intensity continuous training), NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease), RCT (randomized controlled trial)


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